This week Dr Cindy Laudan-Ho discusses how Acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, can treat back pain and sciatica in pregnancy! Dr Cindy heads up our Placenta Encapsulation team here at Tender Touches. She regularly sees patients for Acupuncture at Body in Balance Acupuncture, in NW Calgary. She is extremely knowlegdable on all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum related; and we hope this week's blog helps alleviate some of these discomforts brought about by pregnancy.
~ Doula In The Wild
Further into a pregnancy, one of our most common patient complaints is back pain and sciatica. For obvious reasons, there is a lot of pressure on your spine as you grow a tiny human! In my practice, I have had a lot of success using scalp and ear points to help relieve this pain. These points work so quickly, that many patients feel relief within seconds of them being placed in. Working with the general public as well, there are many who are very happy but also “freaked out” by how quickly it works. Some have to have a few sessions to see it gone completely, others it only takes one. Of course with pregnancy, our cause of back pain cannot be removed until baby comes, at which point the moms feel either vast improvements with follow ups and even still, full relief.
The scalp points are a more modern style of acupuncture. They follow the Western map of the brain and are needled in the direction of the motor and sensory lines. These lobes of the brain deal with mobility and pain. The needles are placed very superficial along the scalp rather than being placed perpendicular as the skull bone would not allow that.
Take this example... you put your hand on a hot stove. Your body responds by sending a sensory nerve response from your hand to your brain (opposite side of the body- the brain works contralaterally), which then sends a signal to the motor lobe, which sends a motor nerve response down to your hand, to get you to move your hand. Obviously, this happens very quickly, which explains why the acupuncture points work so quickly as well.
There are another 200 acupuncture points in the ear. These points are commonly used for addictions such as quitting smoking, drug abuse, weight loss, etc. The very first point discovered in the ear was the sciatica point. It can be found along the lower border of the triangular fossa and works wonders for sciatic pain. I find that when my sciatica is kicking in, I can use my fingernail and press against this point (on the opposite ear from the side of body pain- the ear works contralaterally as well) and within 10 minutes the pain is gone! Ear seeds work wonders for on the sciatica and hip point (I often also add hormone and stress points in my pregnant patients, and if past 37 weeks, I add more ear seeds to include the uterus as well for pain management and to help labor progression!). These poppy seeds are stuck onto your ear with a little bandage to hold them on an acupuncture point for 4-7 days so that you can do your own acupressure at home. When the pain is really intense, I find these acupressure points can be really sensitive on my patients and encourage them to remove them if they cannot lay their head on that side on a pillow or talk on the phone. The seeds do not actually penetrate the skin at all and can be safely removed. I ask my patients to moderately push on the seeds until their ears feel warm, but not to the point of piercing their ear.
Lumbar pain and sciatica are so common in pregnancy and often very simple to treat. If this is something you, or someone you know is suffering from, send me a note! I’d be happy to help.
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By: Doula Sonja
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